Osusu Health

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Osusu Health: Free health care at point of need

London, United KingdomFreetown, Sierra Leone
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Osusu Health breaks down barriers to accessing health care. Using mobile technology, we educate and equip families with the knowledge and financial security to access modern medicine when it’s needed most.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a lack of wealth and knowledge were no longer barriers to accessing modern medicine in sub-Saharan Africa?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Households and nations with poor health tend to be less wealthy than their healthy neighbours. Poor health deepens and perpetuates the cycle of poverty for poor families. Osusu Health aims to dismantle the cultural, physical, financial and educational barriers to accessing health care in sub-Saharan Africa.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Osusu Health is a cross-sector solution to provide free health care at the point of need for people whose lack of money and information forces them to choose ill health and/or the care of traditional healers. With user-centred mobile technology and existing physical and social infrastructures, Osusu Health educates poor families in sub-Saharan Africa about the advantages of modern medicine and enables access to finance on a consultation-treatment basis.In Sierra Leone, an ‘osusu’ is a community savings & insurance scheme. Osusu Health generates subscription-based revenue from participating families & additional capital from government, philanthropists & partners. Treatment & transport costs are paid directly to service providers.


None, we are pre-launch.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

At schools I have set up in Sierra Leone, teachers informed me that up to 10% of the student body was due to illness. Visiting homes, I found that they are either being treated by traditional healers or not at all. Mothers’ choices were limited by a lack of 2 primary factors: money & trust. In one case, a trusted social worker offered to go with the mother & daughter to hospital & said the charity would pay transport & treatment costs if the mother could make a small contribution. They went to the hospital, the daughter was diagnosed with a chest infection & started a course of antibiotics. Osusu Health functions alongside trusted local physical and social infrastructures, while allowing the above results to work at scale.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

OH is pre-launch, therefore no impact has been achieved except for dozens of families who have since approached the charity for the support provided in the example above. OH could replace traditional healers and home-cooked treatments for patients that require modern medical attention. In Freetown, where I recently conducted related research across 17 slum communities with a sample group of 7,500 people, up to 60% of slum inhabitants saw going to a hospital when sick as their second or third option due to the reasons cited above: a lack of money and trust. Based on (outdated) census data for Sierra Leone alone, there is an approximate target market of 400,000 urban families. The primary impact goals of Osusu Health are to prevent preventable deaths or work/school absence. The secondary impacts include improved academic attainment, family security and micro/macro economic performance.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

External factors such as country health indicators, maturity of the health industry & sociological conditions influence where & how to grow OH. Target markets for growth include Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana & Senegal - all of which have relatively stable governments, growing health industries & literacy rates & GDP per capita. Osusu Health has 4 strategic priorities: 1) Build the trust of the target market, 2) Connect more patients to modern medicine, 3) Secure private & public sector partnerships, 4) Demonstrate results to stakeholders. Our expansion strategy is modeled on Uber.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will run a 6-12-month pilot using a mixture of philanthropic capital from foundations, trusts and individuals. We will aim to prove the concept against key social and economic indicators. We will launch using philanthropic capital, later securing commercial or impact investment and transitioning to a sustainable funding model of commercial partnerships, statutory funding and customer revenues by the start of 2019. Until Osusu Health is commerc

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

A recent study by Munichre Foundation identified 417 micro insurance products for health in sub-Saharan Africa. Many governments, NGOs and mutuals offer subsidised & decentralised health services. Community Based Organisations offer micro-insurance. The traditional ‘osusu’ is one such scheme. This challenge has also attracted schemes such as Save for Life. The level of innovation, research and investment into the market indicates the commercial and social appetite for robust health solutions. The key differentials will be our multi-party, but ultimately user-centred and sustainable approach.

Founding Story

Over the last four years I have built a sustainable education charity in Sierra Leone. I recently received a message from our local CEO, Santigie, informing me that an eight year old girl, Hathuma Kallay, whose brother attends one of our schools, had died. We investigated the death. Two nights earlier Hathuma complained of a fever. She was taken to a traditional healer who administered herbal remedies. Hathuma died of typhoid malaria on 25th June, 2015. Her mother later informed us that she could not afford transport to and treatment at the hospital. My ambition is to break down these barriers to secure and healthy families.


Nick Mason (Founder & CEO) - Exec team at BeyondMe. UK Director at We Yone Child Foundation. Recruitment plan: Governance: diverse and dynamic Directors to complement Osusu Health’s vision. Business Development: a qualified financier with 10+ years experience and extensive networks in health. Expertise in communications and fund management. COO: 10+ years operations experience in Africa. Expertise in public-private partnerships. Head of Health Education: qualified medical professional with significant experience in Africa. Expertise in education and psychology. Developer: experienced mobile app developer with skills in multiple operating systems, including both smart and basic phones.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

Together with Boehringer Ingelheim, Osusu Health will enable families to take care of themselves. With BI’s deep knowledge of the global health industry, enormous research capacity, relevant networks and trusted brand, Osusu Health’s model, route to market and growth could be nurtured, refined and enhanced. Through this partnership, BI’s brand would gain positively from the mission-aligned association with a life-saving initiative. BI’s talent could benefit from a focused Community Spirit engagement with Osusu Health. Later, BI could receive unique insights from Osusu Health’s data on the poorest segment of the African population and benefit from the growth of this market.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Distribution Channels, Research and Development, Relationships/New Contacts, Legal Support, Technology Expertise, Public Policy Knowledge, Access to Capital.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

R&D: understanding needs/interests of key stakeholders through existing data/research.
Relationships: supporting Founder with mentoring & relevant public/private sector networks.
Distribution channels: understanding local distribution channels & benefiting from logistics expertise.
Legal Support: understanding regulatory environment in target countries.
Tech: advising on design, dev & iteration of tech that generates user, social and economic value.
PP Knowledge: advising the Founder to ensure Osusu Health operates within policy paradigms.
Access to Capital: providing seed capital.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Access to and established trust with customers/beneficiaries, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up).

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together
Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea
How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?
Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?
What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?
Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.
What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?